I know that the verbs such as let, make, and have are causative, and when looking on the internet I found out that people generally don’t treat the verb want as causative.

However, if we look at these two examples with want:

  1. People are wanting their favorite words added.

  2. They want their issue done.

Then to me that usage reminds me of the causative form just like in these next two examples:

  1. I had to have my TV repaired three times in the first year.

  2. She made them cry for no reason.

  • The verbs let, make and have are not causative; when they are used in combinations with other verbs, they turn them causative. One of those verbs is want. Why can't I want that? Let me want it. Make me want it. Would you really have me want such a thing?
    – Kaz
    Commented May 22, 2022 at 1:01

2 Answers 2


You're looking at it wrong. It isn't individual verbs that are causative, usually; it's the constructions they're in, which may or may not require them.

For instance, there's a causative construction with have

  • He had his tires rotated.

meaning, in this case, that he caused someone else to rotate the tires on his car. That doesn't mean have is a causative verb; it's not. It just means the causative construction uses have.

The example sentences you gave (leaving off the irrelevant bells and whistles)

  • People want their favorite words added.
  • They want their issue done.

are both examples of the syntactic rule called to be-deletion. Note that to be may be added in each case, making a passive infinitive complement:

  • People want their favorite words to be added.
  • They want their issue to be done.

So that's what happened to those sentences. Want does not cause things, though it can motivate people to do things. But that's not causation.

The other two examples you mention are real causative constructions,
one with have that I mentioned above, and one with make, a true causative verb.


Causative verbs are active verbs, that is verbs that tells that an action is being done. However, "want" is not an active verb as it merely indicates a state of mind; it is a stative verb. Therefore, it can't be a causative verb.

The impression of a causative relationship is wrong. You can see that if you compare the sentence "They wanted the vacationers to go to the hills." with a sentence entirely equivalent in meaning.

  • They wanted that the vacationers went to the hills. (They might have gone to the hills, then again they might not have.)

A mere intention has been expressed; no idea that someone or something could be credited with an action can be extracted from these words.

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